March 22, 2015

Book Review | The Lost Crown

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The Lost Crown is a young adult historical fiction novel following the royal Russian family in the years following up to the Russian Revolution and the years they were forced into hiding. Told from the POV of the four grand duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, we get a look into how their privileged life is.

I’m a huge history buff, and the Russian Revolution was always one of my favorite lessons, probably because I was so in love with the Fox cartoon as a kid. It was a real life mystery, the disappearance of one of the Romanov sisters, and it is still one of those things that I find so fascinating.

In the author’s note, Sarah Miller explains who she gathered as much information as she could from letters and other documents from the Romanovs or that were associated with the family in order to piece together a true story of the four sisters.

Juggling the story from four different viewpoints sounds dizzying as it is, but Sarah Miller managed to execute it perfectly. There was never a moment for me where I couldn’t tell who was speaking and what they were feeling in that moment.

Sarah Miller did a fantastic job at capturing the lavish lives of the girls and the confusion and panic they felt as they were forced away from everything they ever knew into the small place where they were to spend their last days. If you are a history buff, or simply just a fan of the Fox cartoon, definitely pick this up. You won’t regret it :)

 

March 20, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole | Wonderland Reads

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Wonderland. A curious place full of time-crazed rabbits, talking flowers, and kooky characters who ask unsolvable riddles over tea. Lewis Carroll’s world has captivated children and adults for generations, and has inspired some wildly imaginative retellings. Pay a visit through the looking glass and see how the classic story is repainted in these vibrant and captivating series :)

 

The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy – Frank Beddor

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What if Wonderland wasn’t pretend? What if it was a real place, and the characters were not the characters we know, but real people? This is what Alyss Heart tries to explain when she stumbles into Victorian London. Everyone believes she is making up stories the way all children do, except for an aspiring author who is willing to write it all down. Except he gets it wrong. He turns all the people in Alyss’ life into nothing more than frivolous characters. The only part he gets right involves her evil aunt Redd, who is out rule Wonderland and our world with Dark Imagination. Alyss must find a way back home and save both our world and Wonderland from Redd’s tyrannical rule before it’s too late.

The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy consists of The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Redd, and ArchEnemy.

 

Splintered Trilogy – A. G. Howard

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Splintered follows Alyssa, who is the great-great-great granddaughter of the original Alice whose stories inspired Lewis Carroll’s infamous works. Alyssa is able to hear the whispers of bugs and flowers, a curse passed down through the generations, and the very thing that landed her mother in a mental hospital. Alyssa soon learns that Wonderland is a lot darker than Lewis Carroll let on in his stories. Upon arriving in Wonderland, Alyssa is put to the test to right all of Alice’s mistakes and save her family from the madness that has plagued them for so long.

The Splintered Trilogy consists of Splintered, Unhinged, and Ensnared.

 

The Queen of Hearts Saga – Colleen Oakes

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Dinah’s days as Princess of Wonderland Palace is less than glamorous. Things go crumbling down when a stranger arrives at the palace. Suspicious and sinister events begin cropping up, and Dinah is left to unravel the mysteries around her before it’s too late.

The Queen of Hearts Saga currently consists of The Crown, and The Wonder. The third book, The Fury, is expected to be published sometime in 2015.

I mentioned another Wonderland-themed novel coming out this year by Marissa Meyer entitled Heartless. This is the first book in a duology revolving around the Queen of Hearts, which I am highly looking forward, too.

 

Got any more Wonderland suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment below!

March 20, 2015

Book Review | Atlantia

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Atlantia is a young adult fantasy stand-alone novel by Ally Condie (author of the Matched trilogy) set in an underwater utopia called (surprise) Atlantia.

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When you first look at the cover of this book and read the synopsis printed on the dust jacket, it sounds a lot like it’s about mermaids, or perhaps a retelling of the Little Mermaid. And in a way it is.

Hundreds of years before the events of the story the Earth (what the characters refer to as Above) became polluted and generated lots of illnesses. In order to save the human race, Atlantia was built. Those that live Below live healthier and thus this allows them to prolong their lives. Those that chose to remain Above have sacrificed themselves for their families. Each year on the anniversary of the Divide between Above and Below, new adults are given a chance to choose to go to the unknown world or remain in Atlantia. By law each family must always have one member down in the city to keep their bloodline in tack.

Our main character, Rio, has always dreamed of going Above. She had that “Ariel the Little Mermaid” mentality of wanting to explore the dangerous and wonderful world beyond the ocean. Rio’s dream is put to the side however when her mother suddenly dies, leaving Rio and her twin sister, Bay, on their own. Rio promises Bay she won’t go Above so they can stay together. To everyone’s surprise, Bay chooses to go Above, which means Rio can never go. Rio is in a constant daze, trying to figure out why her sister left without an explanation and searching for a way to escape to the world Above.

Now, I liked this story, don’t get me wrong. It was cute and interesting, but it seemed to drag on in certain parts. I was hooked from the first page and couldn’t put it down. But as Spring Break drew closer and closer, I had schoolwork I needed to focus on. Every night I would pick up this book, ready to be swept away from quizzes and assignments that had been puling up. Unfortunately that didn’t really happen except for maybe once or twice. I know it’s hard to get caught up in a book’s universe when you’re busy, but isn’t that kind of a necessary trait we as readers want?

I felt like Rio started to be very repetitive in what she was doing and thinking. She was very indecisive about who she could and could not trust with information of her sister’s departure and her mother’s death. Her determination to get to the Above consumed her so much that she ignored everyone telling her she would die trying to leave. She even made her friend make electric robots that would shock her underwater while she was trying to earn money as a swimmer/performer. Seriously, Rio, Tris Prior, and Bella Swan are the three literary characters I think I’ve read in the young adult genre who are so unbelievably reckless and stupid when confronting the possibility of death. (I know there are probably way more, but these three really take the cake.)

In terms of numbers, this was about a 2.5. I would like to read this again because there were a lot of things that I enjoyed, but it won’t automatically go in the automatic rereads pile.

March 2, 2015

Classic Corner | The Wizard of Oz

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I’ve been in a very Wizard of Oz mood as of recently. I think it might have a little to do with the fact that the new Dorothy Must Die novel is coming out later this month. So I’ve decided to head down the Yellow Brick Road with the one that started it all, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

As you can see in the above photo, I have the completed works, which includes the fourteen original Oz books by L. Frank Baum, as well as one story by Ruth Plumly Thompson entitled The Royal Book of Oz.

Since my Spring Break will be this month, I really want to try and read through all of the Oz stories, not just the first one. I did read another one of the stories (I believe it was Ozma of Oz_ back in the sixth grade, but I don’t remember too much about it.

I also plan on re-watching the movie and the 2007 Sci-Fi mini series, Tin Man, which stars Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming, which I absolutely love.

And of course, I plan to read all the existing books the Dorothy Must Die series leading up to The Wicked Will Rise, including Dorothy Must Die and the three prequel novellas: No Place Like Oz, The Witch Must Burn and The Wizard Returns.

I’m ready to slip on my Ruby/Silver slippers and travel to the Emerald City!